My family and many others pay what I've dubbed the "Jew Tax;" that is, the portion of our suburban Chicago synagogue dues that goes for surveillance cameras, alarms and a security guard on duty during services and when kids are in Hebrew school.
It's sad when you think about it to see people living on the streets and in shelters for long parts of their lives. Yet we live in a world where profit is placed over people. Here in the West we will never see housing as a human right, something that builds family and community.
Earlier this summer, a minor kerfuffle over an exhibition of artworks by famed Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) underscored a more serious problem facing Armenian culture and Armenia in general -- and, by extension, many of the former Soviet republics.
These are two traumatized people. For the Israelis insecurity has become existential. For the Palestinians humiliation has become the defining quality. Both are victims of nightmares of powerlessness and fantasies of power.
Tensions are understandably high. The loss of lives on both sides is a tragedy. Thanks to Israel's Iron Dome defense, many Israeli lives have been spared. But Hamas keeps trying. And Israel keeps fighting back. And the horrible cycle goes on and on.
A few weeks ago I was watching Israelis reacting with shock and horror to the idea that Israeli Jews could have kidnapped a Palestinian boy and burned him alive. I was shocked by their shock: Have they really not been listening to themselves for the past 20 years?
Inquisitions to current day intolerant extremists, life and resources are wasted with perverted extravagance. Difference and deviance have become the most frequently employed rationale to persecute, punish and kill.